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“Wonderful Location, great service, decent room.”
Review of Mar & Oro

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Mar & Oro
Reviewed August 19, 2013 via mobile

The hotel sits right above a gorgeous beach. The folks at the front desk picked us up at the ferry, carried our bags to our room and had welcome drinks ready for us at the bar as soon as we dropped our bags off. 10 minutes later, we were on a gorgeous beach. Paradise!

Breakfast is included, and was actually quite good. Other meals at the restaurant were slightly overpriced, and the pictures on the menu didn't always match what was served. The restaurant overlooks the beach, and is the best place to get WiFi.

The room was spacious, with a large king bed. Bathroom was small but sufficient. The room had a tinge of a mildew smell, which probably isn't uncommon on a small, humid tropical island.

Overall, I'd recommend this place to friends and family traveling to Panama.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Phatlefty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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59 - 65 of 341 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

We were a party of 13 staying at Villa Romantica July 2013, The selling point for this hotel is the location on a white sandy beach with palm trees.
The rooms need an upgrade as they were quite shabby,The shower in our room didn't work as the taps were missing! we used my daughters shower instead.
The food was basic although breakfast was very good and the staff were really friendly and helpful
and the drinks were of a good quality.
We hired a speedboat and went out to some of the neighbouring Islands which was a lovely day out as we saw whales which was a real treat.
The hotel is under new ownership so I would be interested to visit again in the future to see what improvements have been made as the location is fabulous and this hotel could easily be 5* with the right Manager.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Moowards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2013

The Villa Romantica has a new French owner who plans to upgrade it and make it ecologically more sound. At present, its setting on a wonderful white sandy beach, with rock pools and shady trees and reefs just offshore, is its main selling point. The decor of the hotel itself is pretty shabby and dated (we stayed in the Castillo suite which has a mural of a German castle behind the bed, a relic of its former owner’s taste) but its terrace restaurant overlooking the beach is pleasant and the food was very good. The menu has clearly been updated. We enjoyed good pizza, good salads and excellent pargo rojo (red snapper) during our stay.
The staff were attentive – picking us up and dropping us off at the ferry terminal – and arranging for us to hire a golf buggy (the most common form of transport on the island!) They will also organise island-hopping and whale-watching tours, snorkelling etc.

Room Tip: The Castillo Suite is on the ground floor next to reception and the restaurant which might have been...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Maeve F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2013

We came to Panama on business, so just decided to seize the weekend to indulge in islands' delights. Contadora was the easiest one to reach (1,5 hour on a ferry from Trump Tower), so the decision was taken quickly. The night before the trip I called to Villa Romantica to book a room. Reception lady (whose English was ok) confirmed that Hawaii 2 room was available for tomorrow, yet she asked to send a mandatory booking e-mail which I did sent after the call. Upon arrival it turned out that Hawaii 2 was occupied but we we offered Romantica 2 for 128$ per night including taxes and breakfast on which we agreed and proceeded to the room without any delays.
The hotel offered welcome drink, but I heard about that by chance, somebody from the guests we discussing it. So I went and asked the stuff to give me and my boyfriend those drinks, which happened to be some non-alcoholic cocktails. Very nice from the hotel, but I'm really afraid that we might have missed our chance for refreshments if I hadn't demanded them deliberately.
I was ready to a more than modest and highly overpriced conditions as I'm not a novice in Central and South America, maybe this background was the reason of my pleasant surprise upon entering the room. Yes, the hotel is run down, but I absolutely loved the design of the room, including shells decorations on the bathroom walls, pink sink and pink flush toilet, barocco style mirror and same style curtains and paintings on the wall. I loved the idea of a window in the roof through which we could watch the sky at night (romantic indeed!). What I did not like at all in the room were:
1) absence of hot water (ok, assuming that it might have been sun-heated as normal on island and our two days were rather cloudy, it could happen)
2) pillows were very small and uncomfortable
3) bedclothing was very washed-out
4) no tv, just the cables hanging from the wall. It couldn't ruin our weekend, so we even didn't complain about this lack of civilazation in the room, yet considering the rate I do believe tv must have been provided.
Food. Breakfast was good (fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice, toasts with butter and jam and eggs or pancakes on request). As for the dinner opportunities, they were sorrowful. Once on an island surrounded with the Pacific one would expect a variety of sea-food dishes. There were some, but I'd cook much better! And I'd offer a vaster variety on the menu. Besides, food was way overpriced. Our dinner for two of one salad, two main courses and half-litre of sangria cost us 55$. We didn't get poisoned and the food was just ok, plain. Surely, if management considered the possibility to extend the menu and cut down the prices that would attract more people to the restaurant. I spotted a couple of elderly ladies eating canned food on the beach and lots of people escaping for food to the nearest shops. Btw, we also went there to buy water since 3$ per a 600ml bottle looked unreasonable.
Anyway I'd like to thank Sr. Mauricio from the restaurant for being friendly with us and even making an attempt to say some words in russian which was heart-warming. All in all we didn't have any troubles with staff.
My humble observation is that the hotel might have made a much better use of such a great location and really beautiful beach. Why not open a beach bar and turn on a smoothing lounge music? Why not sell BBQ on the beach? Why not offer free enterntaiments like badminton, volleyball, etc.? Hungry people would consume tons of food on the beach especially if it was decently priced! Why not organise cosy night parties with dances on the beach that could gather guests of all generations? In the evenings people are bored to death, but at the same time they could have fun of a lifetime with the micro efforts from the management's side.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mariposa_1717
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

After visiting Bocas del Toro (which we loved), the San Blas (not so much), we decided to head out to the Pearl Islands for the last two days of our trip to get out of the city. I am only regretful that we didn't find this place first because I would have spent much more time here! Having visited many tropical islands including Tahiti, Ambergris Cay, Hawaii, Bonaire, etc., the Pearl Islands rank amond my favorite for the value! For only being an hour and a half ferry ride from Panama City it is amazing how unpopulated and pristine they are! When the ferry dropped us off right on shore at Playa Cacique (the beach that Romantica is on) I immediately knew I had found my heaven! The beach and the crystal blue waters were amazing! Although we arrived at the hotel long before check in they had our room available to us shortly after our arrival. The room was a little funky in decor but it was clean, comfortable, had good AC and a great view. I snorkled for a couple hours right in front of the hotel and saw a lot more fish and variety than I had seen at a recommended snorkel spot we had visited in Bocas. The owner of the hotel and his staff were so accomodating with arranging for activities. We rented a golf cart right at the hotel to explore the island and the other beautiful beaches which I highly recommend. They arranged for us to go fishing the next morning and when we got back with a fish they cooked it for us in the restaurant and it was amazing! The views from all of the hotel facilities are incredible! We unfortunately didn't have the time to take advantage of it but they have a catamaran at the resort for full or half day tours or sunset cruises. After two weeks in Panama, although great, I didn't think I'd ever go back but after finding Villa Romantica and the Pearl Islands I know I will be back!

Room Tip: Choose a room with a view! We stayed in the Panama Suite which was great! The only down side is it...
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Fisch78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

My friends and I spent two nights at Villa Romantica over a weekend. I absolutely recommend this place for a two day getaway from Panama. The hotel is very well located by one of the best beaches in the island which makes it very pleasant to stay at the beach and go back to the room any time to get something or simply have breakfast or lunch by the sea. The hotel also has a very good restaurant where they serve fish and sea food which is very well prepared and tasty. The staff are friendly and welcoming and they picked us up and dropped us off at our ferry from Panama City. The rooms are ok, not exceptional, and the hotel has the potential to be much more than it is at the moment as the construction and style are very pretty but not as well maintained as it could be. Overall, I would stay there again on another trip to Contadora island.

Room Tip: The rooms by the restaurant have the music quite loud. Ocean view isn't that important.
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Carolina C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2013

When you go to Isla Contadora in the Pearl Islands there is no other place to stay and have a fabulous restful, friendly stay than at the quaint Villa Romantico. Sighted on a perfect sugary sand beach you do not need a vehicle but rent a four wheeler anyway to see a bit of the island. Thanks to the whole staff who made us feel at home, for sharing snorkeling gear and kayaks. Thanks to the restaurant and staff for a great martini and perfect meal, the Corvino (Sea Bass) a la plancha was yum yum and breakfast made to order was perfect along with fresh Panamanian Coffee. We love you guys and you will be in our thoughts for a long time.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Thom D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mar & Oro

Address: Calle Playa Cacique | Casa A24, Urb. Isla de Contadora, playa Cacique, Panama Province 4470, Panama
Location: Panama > Panama Province > Pearl Islands > Contadora Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Contadora Island
Price Range: $131 - $217 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mar & Oro 3.5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Mar & Oro is the only hotels on the island, Contadora, with direct access to the the most beautiful beach on the island, Cacique Beach. With recently updated rooms, Mar & Oro features a great range of rooms types for you to pick from. Furthermore, the property is now run by a new administration which promises to deliver a great customer service to ensure you and those who accompany you have an excellent experience. Whether you are looking to enjoy some drinks by the beach or have a great meal, Mar & Oro has got you covered. Within the hotel we feature a beach bar known as Cacique Beach Bar, and a restaurant known as MiraOlas. Since we are located next to the beach we take great pride delivering the freshest seafood. To ensure that our seafood is the freshest we buy it directly from the native fishermen's which spend hours fishing daily from the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean which surrounds Contadora. During your stay with us, you will be able to request an umbrella and beach chairs to spend hours relaxing at Cacique Beach. With our staff from Cacique Beach Bar standing by to facilitate any beverage or meal we ensure you will have an unforgettable experience that will last a life-time. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Villa Romantica Hotel Contadora Island
Romantica Hotel Contadora Island

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